IMH in Chennai reunites patient with family

Sita with her child while reuniting with family. IMH Director Dr Poorna Chandrika is present among other institute staff in Chennai.

Chennai: In 2008, 32-year-old Sita* was found at Egmore Railway Station by the police with her three-month-old girl child with psychosis and admitted to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). Fast forward nine years, she is now a happy wife at her native place in Andhra Pradesh. Thanks to IMH that took efforts to treat, rehabilitate and identify her family.

“She was diagnosed of psychosis condition and she was hearing voices and responding to them and did not have any connection with the reality,” IMH Director Dr Poorna Chandrika said.

As she was being treated, Sita was recovering and showed developments fit enough to be reunited with her family. There came the challenge. “Sita, with low IQ, was not in a state to furnish the details of her residence and family. With the passage of time and treatment, she started helping sick patients from different wards, did the daily chores and assisted the staff in the institute,” Department of Psychiatry, Assistant Professor, Dr Ahalya said.

While she was recovering, Sita began to recollect information about her husband and native place and communicated it to the doctors in her mother tongue, Telugu. Following which the team identified nearby localities to help her get familiar and Sita was able to recognise the names.

“We contacted the Tahsildhar of her village agreed to locate the family and got back with details within 48 hours. Later the family recognised Sita and were willing to take her back,” Ahalya added.

Through the family, the doctors learnt that she fled home six months after delivering the baby due to psychosis. Soon after which the members searched for her in the neighbouring districts. However, the searches was unfruitful. The family misunderstood that Sita had died after seeing a corpse. The news of Sita being alive brought joy to the members and they came down to Chennai a month ago to take her back. The three-month-old child is now 11 years old, studying class eight and is delighted to go back to her native and be with family.

“As the school term has not ended, the child will be here under the care of the school and will be taken back after seeking permission from Child Welfare Committee,” Ahalya said.

(*Name withheld to protect identity)

Bhavani Prabhakar